NBA Player Props & Picks: Kevin Durant and Joel Embiid Headline Monday’s Top Bets (April 25)
Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Embiid (21) of the Philadelphia 76ers.
After a successful weekend during which we hit five of our six props, we’ll attempt to keep the momentum going with two more props tonight. There are a couple under props that stick out from two high-profile players.
We’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks.
Let’s dive in!
NBA Player Props & Picks
Kevin Durant, Under 6.5 Assists (-125)
|Nets vs. Celtics||Nets -1|
|Time · TV||7 p.m. ET · TNT|
The Brooklyn Nets are the only team without a playoff win. Now, the Nets’ season is on the line, trailing 0-3 in the series against the Boston Celtics. Brooklyn has looked completely undermanned — but if any duo can come back from this deficit, it has to be Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The Nets are 1-point home favorites tonight.
Durant has really struggled in this series, potentially due to physical fatigue. Irving and Durant have been ostensibly playing playoff games since the middle of March. During the last 11 games, Durant has averaged 41.6 minutes per game with three consecutive games over 40 minutes. That has to take a toll.
In Game 3, Durant only came off the floor for two minutes and played a season-high 46 minutes. He looked gassed, only attempted 11 field goals and scored 16 points. The Celtics defense has been incredible all season, especially with Robert Williams back in the lineup. They led the NBA in defensive rating, allowing a league-best 104.5 points per game.
Durant has played 13 games when his team has faced elimination, which the Nets are tonight. Across that sample of games — excluding the one game when he sustained injury — Durant has averaged 31.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. He has never had seven or more assists in any of those 12 elimination games.
We all remember the epic overtime playoff loss to the Milwaukee Bucks when Durant played 53 minutes and attempted 36 field goals. Durant is aggressive in these elimination games. I expect nothing different tonight and would take this prop down to 5.5 assists.
Joel Embiid, Under 28.5 Points (-115)
|76ers vs. Raptors||76ers -7|
|Time · TV||8 p.m. ET · NBA TV|
It is no secret now that Joel Embiid will require surgery on his right thumb after the season. It will be interesting to see how the Philadelphia 76ers play with Embiid at less-than-full strength at home tonight. He was visibly hurting during the 76ers’ previous game (which they lost). Embiid only had 21 points with a 28.7% usage rate.
Throughout the regular season, Embiid ranked second behind Luka Doncic in usage rate with 36.9% per game. Embiid also led the league in scoring, averaging a career-high 30.6 points per game. He had an incredible year and should finish in the top three of MVP voting. Nevertheless, Embiid’s injury is very poorly timed for Philadelphia.
The 76ers have a chance to close out the Toronto Raptors at home tonight, and the Sixers are favored by seven points — by far the highest point spread on Monday’s NBA slate. Additionally, the Raptors will be without Fred VanVleet, who led the league in minutes. Tonight is a great spot for the 76ers to bounce back at home and end the series.
Betting the under on Embiid’s points total is often risky: He led the NBA in free throw attempts and makes, and usually gets a favorable whistle playing at home. During this series, Embiid has attempted 25 free throws at home compared to 18 on the road. However, he was notably less aggressive due to his injury.
There are several sportsbooks who have this line at 27.5, but it is important to shop around for the best price. We make that easy to do using our ActionLabs Prop Model. We have Embiid projected for more than this prop line, but I love the under.
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